< class="pagetitle">Archive for the “CORE life” Category


While we were in Wichita our lovely colleagues at ESSDACK arranged for us to stay in this beautiful hotel in the Old Town part of Wichita. Built in 1906 the hotel was once a busy warehouse facility for the Keen Kutter brand of tools, silverware, dishes nd sporting goods. You can still see the Keen Kutter name on the outside bricks.

Designed by the firm of Mauran, Russell, and Garden, the warehouse employed state-of-the-art construction and was known as not only the strongest building in Wichita, but also the largest warehouse in the world. The building was also identical in design to the famous Cupples Building located in St. Louis.

The Keen Kutter warehouse was considered to be virtually fireproof, with watertight floors and corbled walls that slowed air currents. Additionally, a cupola on the roof housed 20,000 gallons of water, ready to douse any fire on the premises.

Nearly a century later, local hotelier Jack DeBoer, founder of the Residence Inn and other suite hotels, purchased the Keen Kutter warehouse with the idea of creating a truly unique hospitality experience. What others saw as a timeworn structure, DeBoer saw as a blank canvas for something wonderful, and so he closely managed a major renovation and restoration of the warehouse. Thanks to DeBoer’s vision, the Hotel at Old Town opened for business in 1999, giving the Keen Kutter building a second life.

In celebration of its illustrious history, the Hotel at Old Town conducted a major search for Keen Kutter brand items, which resulted in the largest authentic collection ever assembled. These items are displayed on each floor in museum-quality cases adjacent to magnificent photos of early Wichita. The collection serves as a lasting tribute to the hotel’s history.

The rooms were lovely and the service great, so we will definitely be back.


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It seems that for the past 18 months we have spent a lot of time saying goodbye-today we watched as our office was demolished. I remember how excited we were when we found the building, and how excited we were when we loved in. We loved the view from the 7th floor, looking over the city, but much of that has gone too.

Anyway thanks 151 Kilmore Street- you were great.


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Staff from CORE Education, along with another 20 Kiwis and over 70 Aussies have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the past week to attend the 15th International Conference on Thinking, held at Queen's University.

I am pleased to announce that after a lot of hard work, CORE Education has been awarded the right to host the 16th International Conference on Thinking, which will be held in Wellington, New Zealand in January 2013.

The conference will promote cross-discipline involvement in the development of our capacity to think and learn. Speakers will address issues within the overarching theme of “Expanding Global Thinking”:

  • Future Survival – Environment, Science & Technology, Health, Energy
  • Personal Futures – work & leisure, learning, arts & culture, aging populations
  • Future Society – indigenous development, societal institutions, social equity, evolving economies

Delegates and speakers are expected to be drawn from the areas of

  • Education
  • Business
  • Health
  • Sport and leisure
  • Local government

Registrations of Interest are being taken on the ICOT2013 website

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Back in the office today- but the spring cleaning bug is contagious and Steve, Tash and Emma (with a bit of help from Thomas) have been sorting through old files and making use of the new office space we have expanded into to reorder our filing.

The place is a hive of activity- great opportunity to get tidy before things get back to being hectic again.

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Here’s a thought – give yourself time to pull together your application for the CORE Education Travel Scholarship – it’s been set up to encourage and celebrate a teacher’s or leader’s thought leadership in education and the prize is up to $5,000 towards travel, accommodation, event registration & expenses for a teacher to attend an international education event.  To enter, you need to submit a perspective piece relating to CORE’s Ten Trends .

Alternatively perhaps work on putting yourself forward for the Professional Learning & Reflective Practice 2010 Awards recognising best practice in action. Winners get $3,000 (for an individual) or $5,000 (for a school or centre) to put towards professional learning.  To apply, individuals, schools and early childhood centres have to submit proof of the impact of professional learning activities they have completed. Both the Scholarship and the Awards are now open to teachers and leaders in all NZ early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools.  Go to the CORE website for more information, selection criteria and application forms.

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Colleague David directed us to this book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by author Daniel Pink,  which looks at how staff can be motivated to produce their best work.

As Pink discusses in the book, humans are biologically wired to specific factors that can help them be more productive: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Key things which resonate with me and reminded me of how CORE Education works included:

  • Autonomy – a person’s desire to direct our lives in the direction we want, instead of being told what to do, or where to go. At CORE we believe in empowering our staff- providing what we hope is a safe and supportive environment, but also one in which creativity and innovation are recognised and valued;
  • Mastery (the urge to learn new things and master new skills)- CORE tries to work at the cutting edge of new technology and our IT Team work hard to find new and exciting tools for us to use. CORE also places great value in professional development, and all staff are encouraged to utilise the time and money allocated to PD to extend themselves personally and professionally. We also have six-weekly whole company Prof Learning sessions run by staff members, which explore key topics of interest or areas of our work;
  • Money isn’t everything- which CORE tries to match comparable salaries in the sector many of our staff could earn more and have longer holidays if thy remained at schools or universities- CORE offers something (maybe intangible) that encourages staff to stay despite these market pressures and we are blessed with a very low turnover of our staff.
  • Innovation- Pink notes that start-up companies have more opportunity to innovate and to operate on non-traditional ways- whilst CORE has been in operation for 7 years now I hope we can continue to encourage and support our staff to keep thinking outside that square.

I have only had time to read the highlights so far, but have added this book to my growing list of must reads- have some long plane journeys coming up so might even get a chance in the near future.

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New Zealand Deligates attend reception at NZ High Commision, Singapore

On the second day of the iCTLT conference, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Martin Harvey, hosted a reception for the New Zealand delegation and key educational leaders from Singapore.

Held at the High Commissioner’s Queen Astrid Drive residence, the reception provided opportunity for representatives from the Singapore Ministry of Education, directors from Singapore’s tertiary organisations, and key educational agencies and contractors to discuss mutual areas of work and possible future co-operation.

His Excellency Martin Harvey attended the opening of the iCTLT conference, and visited the New Zealand Learning Technologies stand with Singapore’s Minister of Education, Mr S Iswaran, enjoying the interaction between children from Singapore’s Innova School and children of Kahutara School, New Zealand, on Thursday morning.

This photo shows me (right) with CORE staff  and members of the New Zealand contingent at the iCTLT conference.

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Tuesday morning we had the pleasure of visiting Innova School, a modern primary school to the north of the island of Singapore.

Innova School are taking part in our Singapore-NZ Connect project, which is linking them with Kahutara School in rural Waiarapa. At the school we met with Principal Mr. Michel Saw (who visited CORE Education as part of a study tour to NZ in 2009) and Mr. Lim Cheng Leong (HOD Information Technology), who has co-ordinated the project for the school. We also met a number of the classroom teachers who have been working directly with the students throughout the project.

The Singapore-NZ Connect project gives students in both schools an authentic learning experience, using an enquiry learning focus they have been exploring the differences (and similarities) in their schools and culture. At the same time the project is encouraging a range of skills such as critical thinking, timekeeping, creative thinking, questioning skills, as well as the technical skills of videoing, editing and presenting to camera. Both schools have developed a series of questions that they have asked the other students, and each group are developing short videos in response.

During the iCTLT conference, Innova School will be working with CORE Education to provide a student media team, interviewing presenters and delegates throughout the event. They will also link up for video conference with Kahutara School as part of the walkbout by the Singaporean Senior Minister of State Education, Minister Iswarem, and the NZ High Commission, HE Martin Harvey.

More details of the project can be found on CORE’s Singapore NZ Connect site

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Coming up on March 26th at Te Papa is a one-day “EDtalks Symposium – Leading Minds, Creating Futures”. This symposium features sixteen 20 minute presentations focusing on “current trends in learning enabled through the smart use of technologies, and the related interface between education and business”.

Hr Thought Leaders can ignite imaginations, stimulate fresh approaches, and challenge assumptions. We have assembled a wide-ranging line up of presenters drawing on the university and schooling sector, business entrepreneurs, and telecommunication representatives, who will each provide a powerful idea, challenge or trend.

Hr The day will be divided into four themed sessions, with four presenters and a short plenary for each theme. Each speaker gives a 20 minute presentation, and presenter details are published on the Symposium website.

Hr John Drummond, Blair Professor of Music at the University of Otago, will invite us to consider how we can open up our minds and find once more the creativity we had as kids, and how technology can stimulate our creative juices.

Hr Ernie Newman from TUANZ will be reflecting on the importance of education in the government’s ultra fast broadband project. He will emphasise the opportunity to re-define the interface between school and home, and identify some of the “people Issues” that need to be addressed so that ultra fast broadband truly ushers in a new paradigm for NZ schools.

HrRegister now for this event, and join us for a stimulating day of dialogue and discussion for you and your staff.

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As part of the New Zealand contribution to the Singapore conference CORE Education are also taking part in a virtual conference which runs alongside the iCTLT event. The New Zealand Teaching and Learning Expo 2010 is part of the The Virtual Events Centre, and allows companies either virtually from New Zealand, or attending in Singapore to have an extended presence online during the event.

It is our first time using such a medium so will be interesting to see how it shapes up as the event progresses.

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Jedd, Vince and I arrived last night into Singapore to attend and present at the  International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology (iCTLT). We off out today to visit Innova School to set up the link which will see them connect (hopefully) with Kahutara School in the Waiarapa. Follow the project on CORE Education’s website. If all goes well the NZ High Commissioner and Singaporean Minister of Education will be at the NZ stand at the conference to see the project come together on Thursday morning.

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Back in the office this week after a great 3 days with our CORE whanau at Mt Vernon Lodge.

Reminded me once again what awesome staff that we have and what a very special company I work for.

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(Ex) colleague Greg alerted me to the latest ranking of New Zealand blogs compiled by Ken Perrott (aka Open Parachute). It places CORE’s Director of eLearning Derek Wenmoth at 29th, and ex ICTPD Facilitator Greg Carroll at 63rd. It also has other NZ educators and friends of CORE in the top 100 including Allanah KIng at 59th and Andrew Churches at 71st. Prime Minister John Key is down 16 places on last year to sit in 75th place.

It was also good to see that CORE itself made it in at, Naketa Ferguson (one of our Early Childhood Facilitators) and Suzie Vesper (ICTPD and TakingITGlobal Facilitator) all in the 100-150th spots, and that there were edublogs, inclduing a number of Early Childhood ones on the top 200. Well done all.

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